Friday, May 31, 2013

Blood Moon in Top Ten horror and hardboiled mysteries!

I'm happy to report that since its release at the beginning of the month, Blood Moon has been holding steady in Amazon's Top Ten in horror and also in hardboiled mysteries, besides moving in and out of the Top Ten in many other mystery/suspense and horror categories. I've also discovered that at least for the moment, I'm the only woman in Amazon's Top Ten most popular horror authors. I'd kind of argue that the Huntress books belong in horror, but they're a lot scarier than a lot of other books in that category!

I've been going a million interviews on the book and the series this month which I should link to on the website, but here for now, here are some of the most common questions (and one uncommon one!)

Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.

Blood Moon is the second in my Huntress/FBI thriller series, which follows a haunted FBI agent on the hunt for a female serial killer.  But if you talk to FBI profilers, some will tell you that from a psychological and forensic standpoint, there’s no such thing as a female serial killer.  Women commit homicide, but not sexual homicide.  That’s a little-known fact that has interested me for a long time. For years I’ve been looking for the right story to explore that issue.

Then two years ago I was at the San Francisco Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, and there were two back-to-back discussions with several of my favorite authors: Val McDermid interviewing Denise Mina, then Robert Crais interviewing Lee Child. There was a lot of priceless stuff in those two hours, but two things that really struck me from the McDermid/Mina chat were Val saying that crime fiction is the best way to explore societal issues, and Denise saying that she finds powerful inspiration in writing about what makes her angry.
Write about what makes you angry? It doesn't take me a millisecond's thought to make my list. Child sexual abuse is the top, no contest. Violence against women and children. Discrimination of any kind. Religious intolerance. War crimes. Genocide. Torture.
That anger has fueled a lot of my books and scripts over the years.
And then right after that, there was Lee Child talking about Reacher, one of my favorite fictional characters, and it got me thinking about what it would look like if a woman were doing what Reacher was doing. And that was it—instantly I had the whole story of Huntress Moon, the first book in the Huntress series.

What will the reader learn after reading your book?

They’ll learn that there is no such thing as a female serial killer! But the series also seems to force readers to question their own beliefs about justice and punishment and retribution. I am thrilled that so many people find themselves torn about what they want to see happen to my killer, and that they even find themselves hoping for a love that really shouldn’t ever happen.  So I guess what readers learn is that there may be some vast gray areas between good and evil.

Did your book require a lot of research?

Tons. I made this series hard for myself by making the main character an FBI agent, which means I had to cram a lifetime of forensics and law enforcement procedure into several months of catch-up.  Luckily author and former police detective Lee Lofland has created a fabulous program for writers to experience hands-on police and forensics training under the supervision of an incredible professional staff, the annual Writers Police Academy. I couldn’t write this series without it.

How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?

I am a compulsive outliner. I was a screenwriter for eleven years, and there’s no way to do that job without precise outlining.  You need to be able to tell the whole story to the studio long before you get to sit down to write.  I use index cards, the three-act, eight-sequence structure, a story grid, the whole nine yards – all the stuff I teach in my Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workbooks.  But once I have that outline, the first draft can and often does take off in directions I never anticipated. The characters have their own ideas about what needs to happen.  You’d be a fool not to go with the flow in the heat of the moment, to mix a metaphor.

Agatha Christie got her best ideas while eating green apples in the bathtub. Steven Spielberg says he gets his best ideas while driving on the highway. When do you get your best ideas and why do you think this is?

Hmm, I’ve never tried green apples in the bathtub.  Kind of sexy!  I agree with Spielberg, though (who wouldn’t?). Driving is very good for me. Especially for this series, since the books are all about road trips – each book in the series is an interstate manhunt.  More precisely, a womanhunt. 

Night driving is the best. I also get a lot of ideas from dreams.  The shower is good. And dance class.

Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading? 

I was voracious.  I read everything. But I was always most attracted to mysteries, thrillers, and horror.  Anything with a spooky cover, I was all over it. I need the adrenaline rush!  Stephen King, of course, Ira Levin, Ray Bradbury. Early on I discovered that I especially love the feminine perspective on crime and the supernatural – Shirley Jackson, Daphne DuMaurier, Mary Shelley, Agatha Christie, Barbara Vine.  I think women know a lot more than men do about terror.

As an author, what is your greatest reward?

Without question, having readers read my books and experience the world and the characters just as if they’re caught up in a film. And then being able to dialogue with them about the story and characters and their experience of the story. It’s such an intimate relationship. Incomparable.

- Alex

Huntress Moon,  $3.99

A driven FBI agent is on the hunt for that most rare of all killers:
a female serial.

Blood Moon, on sale now:  99 cents

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon DE

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Huntress Moon, FREE May 22! Blood Moon 99 cents!

Today you can pick up BOTH books in the Huntress/FBI series today for just 99 cents:  Huntress Moon is a free download, Blood Moon is 99 cents.

- An ITW Thriller Award Nominee for Best Original E Book Novel
- A Suspense Magazine Pick for Best Thriller of 2012

"This interstate manhunt has plenty of thrills... Sokoloff's choice to present both Roarke's and the killer's perspectives helps keep the drama taut and the pages flying."   -- Kirkus Reviews

Amazon UK   
Amazon DE

FBI Special Agent Matthew Roarke is closing in on a bust of a major criminal organization in San Francisco when he witnesses an undercover member of his team killed right in front of him on a busy street, an accident Roarke can't believe is coincidental. His suspicions put him on the trail of a mysterious young woman who appears to have been present at each scene of a years-long string of "accidents" and murders, and who may well be that most rare of killers: a female serial.

Roarke's hunt for her takes him across three states...while in a small coastal town, a young father and his five-year old son, both wounded from a recent divorce, encounter a lost and compelling young woman on the beach and strike up an unlikely friendship without realizing how deadly she may be.

As Roarke uncovers the shocking truth of her background, he realizes she is on a mission of her own, and must race to capture her before more blood is shed.

(I know, I'm sorry, exclusive to Amazon for the first three months.  It's the financial reality of it.  But you  know me - if it's a Nook or Kobo version you need, just e mail me at AXSokoloff  AT  aol  DOT  com and I will get either or both books to you!).

Also today, Book II in the Huntress/FBI series, Blood Moon, is just 99 cents.

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon DE

Twenty-five years have passed since a savage killer terrorized California, massacring three ordinary families before disappearing without a trace.

The haunted child who was the only surviving victim of his rampage is now wanted by the FBI  for brutal crimes of her own, and Special Agent Matthew Roarke is on an interstate manhunt for her, despite his conflicted sympathies for her history and motives.

But when his search for her unearths evidence of new family slayings, the dangerous woman Roarke seeks - and wants - may be his only hope of preventing another bloodbath.

I've been absent from this blog because I've been doing so many interviews and guest posts about the book. I think one of the most interesting ones is this:

Ten Things You Didn't Know About Being a Published Author

- I also encourage anyone interested in e publishing to check out my guest post on Joe Konrath's 

Newbie's Guide to Publishing (and everything else on the blog). I'll be doing my own posts about it here, as well.

- Another very thorough interview on The Book Nympho, talking about the Huntress series and all kinds of other stuff.... Jonetta always has the BEST questions!

- I thought there were some interesting questions in this She Writes interview. The last one kind of threw me!

- And another general interview on process.